Matt Spetalnick and David Graham, REUTERS
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) — President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shook hands on Friday at a summit in Panama, a symbolically charged gesture as the pair seek to restore ties between the Cold War foes.
A photograph showed Obama and Castro, both wearing dark suits, chatting in a small group of leaders at the summit’s opening ceremony. A White House official confirmed the two men shook hands and spoke briefly.
“This was an informal interaction and there was not a substantive conversation between the two leaders,” the official said.
Obama and Castro are expected to meet again on Saturday and talk about their efforts to restore full diplomatic relations and boost trade and travel between the two countries.
Their rapprochement, first unveiled in a historic policy shift in December, is the central issue at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama.